ASEAN and China hold the 17th senior officials’ meeting (SOM) on the implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties on the East Sea (DOC) in Hangzhou, China, on May 17 and 18.
|Delegates to the meeting pose for a group photo|
Earlier, the ASEAN-China joint working group on the implementation of the DOC met on May 16 and 17 to look into the situation on the East Sea, review the implementation of the DOC and continue the negotiations on the Code of Conduct on the East Sea (COC).
Addressing the meeting, head of the Vietnamese delegation Deputy Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dung acknowledged the progress made in the implementation of the COC and the negotiations on the COC.
At the same time, he shared Vietnam’s concern about the complications in the East Sea which are caused by strategic competitions among powers and unilateral actions that run counter to international law and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, particularly militarization actions, which have undermined trust, hindered the maintenance of peace, stability and affected negotiations on the COC.
The Vietnamese head delegate emphasized that the East Sea is also facing other challenges such as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU fishing), pollution and plastic waste.
He called on countries to uphold their sense of responsibility and join hands to fully implement the DOC, refrain from militarization or making moves that can further complicate the situation, and promote cooperation to handling arising challenges.
The Deputy FM informed the meeting that Vietnam will organize a seminar within the framework of the DOC on the fair and humane treatment for fishermen.
Regarding the COC, Deputy FM Dung urged the ASEAN and China to do their best in negotiations so as to achieve an effective code of conduct that is in line with international law, including the internationally recognized UNCLOS. He added that Vietnam will host the 18th ASEAN-China SOM on the implementation of the DOC in the latter half of 2019.
At the meeting, many countries noted that the complicated situation on the East Sea has its roots in recent developments in the waters, which increased tensions, undermined trust and posed risks to peace and stability on the sea.
The countries reiterated the importance of ensuring peace, stability, and security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight on the East Sea. They committed themselves to the full and effective implementation of the DOC, especially self-restraint, and to cooperation on trust building. The meeting approved Vietnam’s proposal on organising a seminar on the fair and humane treatment of fishermen.
The meeting recognized the work of the ASEAN-China joint working group and progress in the negotiations on the COC, saying that the negotiations are following the roadmap towards completing the first round of review ahead of the ASEAN-China Post Ministerial Conference slated for the end of July and early August this year in Bangkok, Thailand.
The countries agreed to keep the pace of negotiations and make joint efforts towards building a result-oriented, effective COC that is in accordance with international law.
They shared the view that during the process, all sides should exercise self-restraint and maintain an environment favourable for the building of the COC.-VNA